Balance Technology and the Human Touch for Best Customer Experience

October 31, 2011  |  Posted by in Communication Skills

Handshake GraphicAt the recent Selling Power Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, there was much discussion about the newest and most exciting technological innovations designed to improve our sales process.  There was also a great deal of interest (and concern) regarding the role of the customer relationship as part of the future 2.0 sales landscape.  While there is no doubt that 2.0 technologies have revolutionized our business life, streamlined our work processes and put the information universe at our finger tips, it is equally important to recognize the limitations of that technology.  As sales professionals we have to understand the appropriate role of technology relative to the human interaction upon which our customer relationships are built.

The use of technology for technology’s sake is a flawed and dangerous strategy.  As we become more 2.0/technology proficient, we must be vigilant to not simply reduce our customer experience to a 140-character texting experience.  Business 2.0 was largely developed for customer convenience, but at our core we are social beings who need interaction – dialog, not monolog.  To realize the optimal customer experience, sales professionals must carefully consider the balance of technology and human touch we provide each customer.  Lean too heavily toward one or the other and your value potential will be severely compromised.

The most recent sales training research by the Aberdeen Group (October 2011) found communications skills to be the top sales training priority among Best-in-Class sales executives.  This data reflects leadership’s awareness of what technology cannot do: anticipate customer needs or initiate the proactive problem solving that creates value for our customers.

The optimal customer experience starts with the ability to build connections with your customer using in-person and virtual social venues.  Engaging technology for ease of business, usable business intelligence, value chain efficiency, etc., adds tremendous value to your offering.  This integrated approach will become a significant strategic advantage as the customer experience becomes the paramount focus.

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